Michigan students benefit from learning with Everyday Mathematics

Supports for English language learners and teachers help ensure success for all learners
By: | Issue: July/August, 2019 | Case Study
July 23, 2019

In 2019, the Auburn Center for Evaluation (ACE) at the University of Alabama analyzed mathematics test data from the state of Michigan to evaluate how McGraw-Hill Education’s Everyday Mathematics, an elementary core curriculum, impacted Michigan Student Test of Educational Progress (M-STEP) scores. Below are three case studies of Michigan districts that use McGraw-Hill’s curriculum.

DISTRICT: Novi Community School District

Novi Community School District, which currently uses Everyday Mathematics 4 (EM4) for 3,000 K-5 students, has seen a rise in M-STEP and Michigan Educational Assessment Program test scores districtwide since the school system began working to improve its curriculum nine years ago. Novi Community students also receive some of the highest math scores in the county every year.

Everyday Mathematics is a huge part of that,” says Jeff Dinkelmann, director of student growth and accountability. “Our older students score in the top percentile in math as well, which wouldn’t be possible without the principles they learn from Everyday Mathematics in K-5.”

‘At their own pace’

Novi Community adopted the first release of Everyday Mathematics years ago, and has maintained the partnership with McGraw-Hill in part because of the spiral approach, which “gives students the ability to learn at their own level and pace,” says Dinkelmann. “Many times, the curriculum will circle back to a topic previously covered and build upon what students learned the first time.”

Equity through pedagogy

Everyday Mathematics supports equity by encouraging students to interact with one another and their teachers. “Through this discovery of learning, students can find numerous ways to solve problems rather than just one, which is something that’s really important to us,” says Dinkelmann. “This equity of opportunity can only really happen when you have a resource that firmly understands mathematical pedagogy.”

Everyday Mathematics also helps teachers who don’t have strong math backgrounds to convey a sense of understanding and to deliver instruction systematically through scaffolding. “Everyday Mathematics has been supported and welcomed by our teachers because it’s a high-quality, solid resource,” says Dinkelmann.

DISTRICT: School District of the City of Pontiac

At the School District of the City of Pontiac, EM4 has helped English language learners, many of whom speak Spanish, understand math concepts even if they can’t explain as much in words.

The program not only includes instructions in Spanish, but it also features components designed specifically for students who don’t speak English. At Pontiac, most ELL students are Hispanic.

Everyday Mathematics units, even the glossaries, are already set up in Spanish. This allows everybody to have access.”

“Teachers love the manipulatives,” explains Stacey Jackson, the district’s mathematics supervisor. “Students can show what they’re thinking, and they can represent it with manipulatives versus trying to put it into words they might not be able to articulate. Tutors who don’t speak the student’s first language can easily demonstrate a concept or how to play games that provide skills practice and reinforcement.”

Support for first-gen parents

Parents also benefit from the program, which includes family letters in Spanish and English.

“Parents want to support their children, but parents are often first generation and aren’t well-versed in English,” Jackson says. “It’s very helpful to have those family letters and components built-in. For other programs, we have to get things translated. But Everyday Mathematics units, even the glossaries, are already set up in Spanish. This allows everybody to have access.”

Everyday Mathematics’ spiral approach helps reinforce concepts, and some EM4 games are differentiated for students according to need. Interventionists in Pontiac use the program across different grade levels for Tier 2 and Tier 3 students.

Education equity

More than 2,100 K-5 students throughout the School District of the City of Pontiac use EM4, and the district has seen improvements across all subgroups, Jackson says.

Everyday Mathematics provides education equity for all of my students,” Jackson says. “We serve a high number of students who are economically disadvantaged and have supports in different areas. A good number of our students are not at grade level, but they are making huge improvements with Everyday Mathematics.”

DISTRICT: Walled Lake Consolidated Schools

John Gregg, K-12 math and science instructional coordinator for Walled Lake public schools, highly recommends Everyday Mathematics under one condition: that the district “is going to commit to providing teachers ongoing support so they develop a deep understanding of the program, implement it with fidelity and continue to receive feedback on implementation,” Gregg says.

Student success

About 6,000 students in K-5 use EM4 in Walled Lake, which implemented earlier versions of the program starting about 20 years ago. Now in its fourth year with the fourth edition, Walled Lake has seen student success in fluency, mathematical discourse and conceptual understanding, Gregg says. Key to that success is robust professional learning that is supported and sometimes provided by McGraw-Hill.

“We’ve had teacher leaders and principals attend training at The University of Chicago and we’ve developed modular training for certain elements such as fact fluency,” Gregg says. “Our team developed a one-page document on what implementation with fidelity looks like in the classroom. We also developed a classroom observation protocol for principals to watch for certain things and later reflect upon instruction.”

More than fun and games

Professional development also includes games. “Games are not just a diversion from doing math,” Gregg says. “They are how the math is reinforced and how fluency is developed in a fun and potentially competitive way.”

With so many resources available through Everyday Mathematics, teachers can meet students where they are and differentiate instruction accordingly, Gregg says.

Everyday Mathematics also teaches various methods of problem-solving to accommodate different types of learning styles, and uses real-world problems to demonstrate practical application of skills. The program includes assessments, online evaluation and reporting.

Still, Gregg cautions, Everyday Mathematics is not a panacea. “Programs don’t solve your problems,” he says. “Well-designed programs—such as Everyday Mathematics—with ongoing training and support will.”

For more information, please visit everydaymath.com

Interested in edtech? Keep up with DA's Future of Education Technology Conference®.